Paradoxical Skills Inventory

How can you be effective in this rapidly changing, unpredictable and highly polarizing world? How do you deal with contradictory values, goals, needs and aspirations within yourself? How do you engage in a conversation with people who have very different views, even radically opposed to yours?
The answers to these questions are indicators of how "paradoxically competent" you are. In other words: how well you master the art of balancing between and playing with opposite directions or polarities.
Paradoxical competence is something anyone can develop and get better at. Completing the Paradoxical Skills Inventory will help you gain a better insight into where your paradoxical strengths lie and where you could still grow.

Completing the questionnaire takes approximately 10 minutes. After completing it, you will immediately see your profile. Click here to visit to learn more about the paradoxical approach, mindset and skills

This Paradoxical Skills Inventory is in the testing phase. Based on the statistical analysis of the raw test data, we will adjust, replace or redefine questions as needed.

© Ivo Brughmans en Silvia Derom 2022,

PS: Data is only used for anonymized research (such as calculating correlations, determining norm groups or making trend analyses). All rules for protecting privacy are respected to the highest degree.

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I regularly take time for self-examination.
I often reflect on my thoughts and intentions.
I regularly detect inconsistencies in my feelings and thoughts.
I feel at home in very different worlds with very different people.
I regularly observe my thoughts as if I were an outsider.
When someone irritates me, I wonder what this says about me.
If I feel that my environment is trying to push me into a certain role, I choose whether I want to go along with it or not.
I easily label other people's characteristics as either good or bad.
I draw upon a wide range of different styles and approaches.
Sometimes I stick too long to a chosen approach.
In difficult conversations I often look for what is not being said.
I can easily switch between very different approaches, styles and roles depending of what is needed in the situation.
I often reflect on my thoughts and intentions.
I ask people how they experience or think about something, even though there is a chance that the answer is not convenient for me.
My self-image includes very different and even contradictory aspects of myself.
I quickly notice the underlying patterns in my feelings and thoughts.
I invest a lot of time and energy in looking for solutions that reconcile opposing views and interests.
I learn from differences of opinion with others.
I regularly detect inconsistencies in my feelings and thoughts.
When my colleagues disagree on the way forward, I look together with them for solutions that do justice to all views.
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I can empathize well with opposing points of view.
Even when I am very convinced about a specific direction, I take the time to thoroughly investigate and understand the opposite strategy.
I actively explore how I can use aspects of myself that I don't like in a positive way.
I can easily admit my mistakes.
If my first reaction turns out to be wrong, I can quickly switch to a different approach.
I regularly have contradictory views on a subject.
I regularly start a conversation with people who have very different views.
I like to come up with innovative solutions to connect conflicting goals.
When I find myself overreacting to something, I wonder why it triggered me so strongly.
I have many opposite characteristics.
I consciously choose the roles I take in different situations.
If I put on a 'different hat' in the same conversation (e.g. from boss to friend), then I explicitly mention it.
I am always trying out new ways to handle situations.
I feel comfortable in uncomfortable situations.
I give space and attention to my undesirable feelings or thoughts.
When people say contradictory things, I ask them to clearly choose a side.
I regularly laugh with myself.
When I have to make a difficult decision, I communicate openly and honestly about my considerations and feelings of doubt.
I regularly connect things that at first sight have nothing to do with each other.
I am always looking for solutions that go beyond black or white.
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I notice quickly when I project my frustrations onto others.
I explore other sides of myself, even when they are contrary to what I consider as my identity.
I quickly notice when I fall into my regular reaction patterns.
My emotions help me to better understand what I need.
When I feel sad, I quickly look for distractions.
I accept my shortcomings.
When a conversation gets stuck on the level of content, I bring up the process, the relationship or the atmosphere.
I can live well with my inner contradictions.
I regularly expose myself to environments that I am not (yet) familiar with.
I often dwell on what I feel.
Faced with a dilemma, I usually look for new ways to connect both options.
If I experience something uncomfortable, it will make me feel uneasy for a long period of time.
I ask advice from people who think differently.
I am honest and transparent about my own drives and motives, even if they are not socially desirable.
I manage to allow silences in a conversation, even when it makes me feel uncomfortable.
At work, I bring up simmering tensions in relationships, even if it leads to uncomfortable situations or conflicts.
I don't fit in any box.
I stay far away from people who have a different worldview.
I often put the greater purpose above my own interests.
I find a period of indecision and 'not knowing' very difficult.
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I experience having contradictory characteristics as a strength.
I don't turn away from unpleasant feelings and thoughts.
I investigate how the negative and difficult feelings I experience can enrich me.
When I experience tensions of discomfort, I will put them aside quickly.
I don't want others to discover my flaws.
In conversations I also bring up underlying emotions.
In case of a difference of opinion, I have a strong drive to make my point.
I quickly notice signs of tension or emotion within myself.
In a conversation I regularly question my own beliefs.
I find it difficult to put what I feel into words.
My opinions are often black and white.
I can name my feelings very precisely.
Once I have chosen an approach, I rarely deviate from it.
I come up with creative solutions by combining unrelated things.
I quickly notice my frustrations.
I investigate the positive value of views that seem despicable to me.
I invest in the relationship by actively asking about the other person's perceptions and experiences.
I avoid conflicts as much as possible.
If it turns out I'm wrong, I can easily admit it.
I ask a lot of questions to people with very different views (to understand them better).
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I am open about my weaknesses.